realme 9i Review

The realme 9i is an all-around performing budget smartphone. It comes with all the essential features that one would want in a budget smartphone. It has a big battery, full HD+ display, competent processor and not to forget the 50MP main camera. However, is it a worthy successor to the realme 8i? Find out in this review.

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Design and Construction

Talk about the design, the realme 9i is a slim and light device and thanks to its rounded corners it’s comfortable to hold and use. The back is made out of polycarbonate material with a “Stereo Prism” effect. When hit with light, the rear panel shows vertical lines going from the top to the bottom of the device. It does catch fingerprints and smudges, so it’s best to use the free case included in the box.

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More on its back, on the upper left corner, we get a protruding camera module and a realme branding below. We have the device in the Prism Blue color, and it is also available in Prism Black if you’re interested.

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On the front, it’s got a large 6.6-inch display with relatively thin bezels on the top and sides, while the chin is thicker. You get a cutout in the top left corner of the screen for the selfie camera.

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On the right side is the power button that also doubles as the fingerprint sensor.

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On the left side, you’ll see the volume rockers and a triple card tray that accommodates two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card. Buttons are well placed and easy to reach.

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Up top, there’s a secondary microphone.

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While at the bottom there’s the USB Type-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack, speaker grille, and the primary microphone.

Display and Multimedia

Just like the realme 8i, realme 9i features a large 6.6-inch IPS LCD screen with a 2412 x 1080px resolution, 90Hz refresh rate, a pixel density of 400ppi, and a maximum brightness of 480 nits. This panel is, however, a step down considering the realme 8i’s screen has a 120Hz refresh rate.

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Nonetheless, the display is great with adequate brightness and rich colors. Even in bright sunlight outdoors, you can comfortably see what’s on the screen with brightness set to the highest.

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As for sound quality, the stereo speakers seem to be a missed opportunity as the sound can get distorted at max volume, and is heavy on mids, making it very suitable for voice calls but not for more immersive audio experiences like listening to music. For the latter case, a 3.5mm audio jack is still available for your needs.

Yugatech 728x90 Reno7 Series


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Focusing on cameras, its triple-camera setup at the back is composed of a 50MP main, a 2MP macro, and a 2MP monochrome depth sensor. For selfies, there’s a 16MP front camera.

Checking out some samples, you don’t get an ultra-wide-angle camera on the realme 9i, but you can shoot at the full 50MP resolution and with that, photos come out better, as there’s more details, especially in objects at a distance. Portraits had good edge detection and the phone lets you choose the level of background blur before taking a photo, which is great. For macros it gives decent detail but don’t expect too much.

When it comes to low-light, the realme 9i is okay. The images come out hazy. Using night mode helped capture details in the shadows better, and images were brighter as well. It also had some improvement in details and objects were sharper.

For selfies, the front camera works best in daylight settings and the portrait mode creates good separation from the background.

For videos, it’s capable of shooting up to 1080p at 30fps and there’s no stabilization so expect some shaky footage.

OS, UI, and Apps

The realme 9i runs on Android 11, skinned with realme UI 2.0. The UI was easy to use and you will not have any issues finding your way around especially if you’re a previous realme user. As usual, it still comes with a few bloatware and pre-installed third-party apps such as Facebook, Netflix, Lazada, Spotify, and Twitter that you can uninstall anytime.

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By default, the app drawer for the home screen is turned on, but you can change it in the settings to the standard mode or simple mode. And it also comes with plenty of customizable options, such as the shape of the icons, in-built wallpapers, dark mode, and eye comfort mode for reading.

The realme 9i is available with 128GB of internal storage and out of the box, there seems to be 110GB of usable space left.

Performance and Benchmarks

Under the hood, powering the realme 9i is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 with an Adreno 610 GPU, and 6GB of RAM. It also has ‘RAM expansion,’ up to 5GB of memory from the phone’s storage.

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We found the device to perform averagely decently for your regular social media, calls, binge-watching, and other streaming apps. Navigating the UI with the default animation speed makes the 9i feel slower than it actually is, but you have the option to change it between 60Hz and 90Hz for smoother animation.

Playing heavy games on the other hand will show you the limitations of the Snapdragon 600 series chipset. Games are playable but don’t expect high fidelity graphics as well as slowdowns for graphics intensive scenes.

For some numbers, take a look at the benchmark scores we got:

• AnTuTu v9.2.1 – 258,544
• AnTuTu v9.2.1 Storage Test – 36,465 (999.0 MB/s Seq. Read, 708.1 MB/s Seq. Write)
• Geekbench 5 – 381 (Single-Core), 1,530 (Multi-Core), 434 (OpenCL)
• PCMark – 8,788 (Work 3.0)
• 3DMark – 454, 2.70 FPS (Wild Life)

For security, you can unlock the phone via the side-mounted fingerprint scanner and face unlock. Both are generally reliable and quick.

Connectivity and Battery Life

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Connectivity-wise, it comes with standard connectivity features such as WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, and dual SIM 4G LTE. As for the battery, the realme 9i is equipped with a massive 5,000mAh battery with support for 33W fast charging which can get you from 0% to 100% in an hour and 10 minutes. The PCMark’s Work 3.0 battery test rated it at 22 hours and 26 minutes.


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Okay, so finally let’s talk about the price. The realme 9i is available for PHP 11,990. And on its own, we can say that it’s a good device for casual use, it has a better and updated chipset, namely the Snapdragon 680 in place of the Helio G96 in the 8i. However, the phone becomes harder to justify as a good update given how little it changes things from its predecessor. The realme 8i might still offer a little more value at the same price for many users.

realme 9i specs:
6.6-inch FHD+ (2412 x 1080) display, 401 PPI
90Hz refresh rate, 180Hz touch sampling rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 processor
Adreno 610 GPU
6GB LPDDR4X (+5GB virtual RAM)
128GB UFS 2.2
Expandable up to 1TB via microSD
Triple rear cameras:
• 50MP F1.8 (main)
• 2MP F2.44 (macro)
• 2MP F 2.4 (B&W)
16MP F2.1 front camera
Dual-SIM (nano)
Bluetooth 5.0
Dual stereo speakers
3.5mm audio jack
realme UI 2.0 (Android 11)
USB Type-C
5,000mAh battery w/ 33W fast charging
164.4 x 75.7 x 8.4mm
Black, Blue

1 Response

  1. Avatar for mozart mozart says:

    Good point on comparing it with its predecessor.

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